Political newcomer TyJuan Cratic is seeking to become a state representative and is running on a platform of change, while veteran judges like the honorable Nathaniel Howse Jr. is seeking to become the second black man elected to the Illinois Supreme Court.
First-time candidate Cratic said voters should choose him in the March 17 Primary over incumbent state Rep. Arthur Turner II (D-9th) to represent the city’s West Side because he has new ideas and a fresh approach to solving problems.
TyJuan “Ty” Cratic
Reducing taxes, increasing affordable housing and economic developments are three areas Cratic, a 35-year-old small business owner, said he plans to focus on if elected.
“People are moving out of Illinois by the droves and the West Side is not exempted from this migration either,” explained Cratic. “Something has got to be done to lower taxes to make living in Illinois affordable and that starts with lawmakers working together in Springfield.”
But despite his desire to improve the way of life for Illinois residents Cratic said he would not support any effort to build a casino on the West Side but does support term limits.
“I support term limits. I don’t think anyone should make a career serving in the state Legislature for 30 or 40 years,” he said.
As far as a Chicago casino goes Cratic said it should be centrally located and “the West Side is not it.”
Prior to becoming self-employed Cratic worked as a property tax analyst for the Cook County Board of Review from 2015 to 2016, and before that he was an administrator in the office of Ald. Jason Ervin (28th) from 2010 to 2015.
The North Lawndale resident, who is single with no children, earned a bachelor’s degree in Political Science from Southern Illinois University, and said if his campaign is unsuccessful he would still keep his eyes open for an “opportunity to serve the people of Illinois both in the public and private sector.”
Illinois Appellate Court Justice Nathaniel Howse Jr.
Seeking a judgeship can be a hard thing to do if you don’t know the right people, contends Howse, who said the process for how Illinois judges are elected and appointed needs to be changed. And that’s one reason why Howse is running to become an Illinois Supreme Court justice.
“A wise man once said, ‘this is a terrible system that we have but no one has come up with anything better.’ And I believe every system has it faults even those ran by a merit system,” he explained. “For example, you don’t get nominated to be on the federal bench unless you know somebody.”
And Howse, who is married and lives in the South Loop, said he has no desire to run for a higher court.
“This is it for me. I would like to finish my career as a justice with the state Supreme Court,” added Howse. “There’s a lot of work that needs to be done with the court systems in Illinois for me to think about going anywhere else.”
One thing he wants to focus on is bringing cases before the courts at a faster pace while also opening up the judicial appointment process.
“There’s got to be better way to do things and I want to find a way to make it easier for everyone to have their day in court and for people to have an opportunity to serve on the bench,” he said.
As far as the hardest part about being a judge, Howse said for him it’s getting elected. He said too often voters do not know enough about judicial candidates to make a fair decision about who to vote for and may instead rely on other things like campaign ads opposed to a candidates’ experience.
Howse, who said he attended segregated schools in Tennessee while his family suffered under ‘Jim Crow’ laws, received his undergraduate and law degrees from Loyola University of Chicago, and spent 22 years as an attorney in private practice before becoming a judge.
In November 1998, Howse was elected to a six-year term to the Office of Judge of the Circuit Court of Cook County; November 2004 he was retained for another six-year term by voters; August 2009 he was assigned to serve as a justice for the Illinois Appellate Court, First District, by the Illinois Supreme Court; November 2012 Howse was elected by voters this time as a justice of the Illinois Appellate Court where he currently serves. His term expires December 2022.
Following in his father’s footstep, also an attorney, Howse said elections do not define a judge, but “gives them an opportunity to connect with the people who depend on them to be fair and impartial everyday.”
By Wendell Hutson